By way of personal testimony I should like to relate the following:I was born on April 5, 1923, in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania. I later accepted the Lord at the age of five. Brought up in a Christian home, I was not permitted to share in the social life of our community. My life centered around Sunday School, Church, Revival meetings and Bible conferences. How often I heard the story of one rotten apple making a bushel of good apples bad. So I was deprived of attending or participating in school activities such as plays, operettas, or even sports. Ordinarily a young person might rebel at parents being so strict, but from an early age I sensed the call of God upon my life and so believed my parents were right in wanting to bring me up in the fear of God.
Following graduation, I had plans to enter a church-related school, but instead took a job in a war plant. This was during days of the Second World War. Often there were labor disputes and I felt the desire to mediate or offer a solution, so would report to the main plant. For these suggestions the management offered to pay my way through college if I would return as a labor-management consultant. That very week I had openly dedicated my life to the Lord under the ministry of Dr. William Pettingill and had been making plans to attend Moody Bible Institute. The firm then agreed to include seminary training if I would only accept their offer.
Grateful for this consideration I refused, however, and headed for the big city of Chicago. During my first term I received a questionnaire from Selective Service. Before opening the letter I fell on my knees and prayed, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” I felt the Lord had called me to the ministry and although there was a war in which we were involved, I was sure the Lord wanted me to stay in school. Moody Bible Institute wasn’t accepted by many of the draft boards across the country so I knew the Lord would have to work something of a miracle on my behalf. After prayer, I opened my Bible and my eyes fell on this verse– “Stand fast and see the salvation of the Lord. Ye shall not need to fight in this barrier’ How wonderfully the Lord made it possible to stay in school to study for the ministry.
During my second term at Moody I began to look for some kind of employment. I applied for work in the radio department for this was one of the chief reasons for going to Chicago. They were in need of a studio assistant, one who would help set up the studio for programs and run miscellaneous errands. My boss was George Beverly Shea.
Then one morning the announcer for a certain program could not be found. I grabbed the script and introduced the broadcast, my heart literally pounding out every word. An official heard my introduction and came to inquire where I had received the permission to announce for I had not been trained as an announcer. I explained what had happened and was given the job of announcing. Within six months I was reading news on the air. And when the director of the news department left the station I was asked to take the job.
More than anything else this was what I wanted. But it meant I would have to lengthen my training in the Pastor’s Course from three to four years. This I did not believe the Lord wanted me to do. He wanted me to give first place to the study of His Word. So I turned down the offer.
Following graduation from Moody the job of news director was again available and I accepted it. We launched a series of news programs, one of which was GOD’S NEWS BEHIND THE NEWS.
One morning I was summoned to the newsroom. A very important bulletin had just come in over the teletype. Chills raced up and down my spine as I announced the news of the first atomic bomb dropped on Japan.
Later, while reporting this event on a GOD’S NEWS program I felt led to resign my post in radio and take to the highways and byways to warn men everywhere–“Prepare to meet thy God!’ Soon Russia and other nations would possess these weapons and the book of Revelation would one day see apocalyptic judgments in which nuclear devices would no doubt be used.
You would suppose my position as head of the news department in a radio station where I had worked my way up to the top of the ladder would be sufficient to keep me from handing in my resignation. Besides, I had married the most wonderful girl in the world and was living comfortably within a block from beautiful Lake Michigan in what was known as the “Gold Coast” of Chicago. To leave all of this, one had to be crazy or else to have heard the voice of God speaking.
Believing the Lord had called us into this outdoor ministry, we were willing to leave the comforts and luxuries of home and for nearly ten years conducted open air meetings from the stage of our Cathedral Caravan. Ministering almost every night, we never lacked a crowd. Using the world’s best gospel films, along with gospel object lessons and special music, we succeeded in seeing thousands of decisions for Christ. It was like fishing where the fish are, as upwards of 90 percent In our audience often were unchurched. What opportunities we had in ministering on street corners, at trailer parks, in housing projects, at county fairs, or in small town vacant lots.
Then it happened. I became gravely ill so that it seemed our caravan days were over.
I had developed a rheumatoid-arthritis condition that brought about a partial paralysis of my left side. Injections were given for a bursitis condition of the shoulder, which only intensified the pain and brought on further complications including ulcers of the stomach. I became listless and perhaps would have died in that condition had my wife not joined me in a prayer marathon. We decided we would pray until we heard from God. So she prayed, and I prayed. She prayed and I prayed. And the third time she prayed and while I was praying there came a knock at our caravan door. A mailman had spent an hour looking for our trailer. He finally found us and left a special delivery letter from my doctor ordering immediate surgery or he would refuse to have my case any longer. Suddenly I thought of Paul, who while beseeching the Lord thrice received an answer. Immediately arrangements were made for the operation. The doctor related how when he cut into that swollen shoulder, nearly a pint of infection gushed out. The arm had deteriorated so that he had to scrape the bone to the elbow. A top bone-and-joint surgeon, rated third in the nation, he told my wife I would never have the full use of that arm again.
Following the operation I continued to suffer in my body. I was extremely nervous and could not preach. However, we did volunteer to take some meetings as I wanted to prove to the Lord that I wasn’t going to allow anything to force me out of the ministry. I loved the Lord and felt we proved our love in many ways. For instance, during ten years of caravan ministry we trusted the Lord for our income rather than take up offerings in our outdoor services. Only when our caravan was sponsored were collections received. We wanted the people to know we were there in the interest of their souls and not out for their money. The Lord proved His love for us by supplying our needs daily. We never went without a meal unless we wanted to do so.
We accepted a meeting at the High Point Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia. Enroute we decided to stop at a clinic in Savannah for a physical checkup. I was still bothered with the rheumatoid-arthritis condition that had settled in my left hip and knee joints. And the infection that had gripped my body had left me with an infected kidney and other complications.
We pulled our 36-foot trailer alongside the church, preparing for our first important meeting. Although I was too nervous to preach, I felt I could push the button that showed the gospel films, and that my wife could do the speaking. On the first night of our meetings we were ready to start the service when someone rushed our little son to the platform. He had been given a ball of candy and it had lodged in his throat. Seeing he was choking the audience cried, “Do something” We turned him upside down as he was turning blue in the face and pounded his back until the candy was dislodged. But the event left me weak and I felt defeat as from the devil himself, who was trying to keep me from ministering. The next night when time came for our meeting, a thunderstorm came up suddenly, and we were again prevented from having an outdoor service. I suggested to the pastor that we go inside for a prayer meeting, and asked those present to lay hands upon me and pray for me.
I had read about ‘fasting’ in the Bible but had never tried it. In desperation I decided to go on a fast of grape juice and water to help rid my system of its poison.
For years I had been seeking for the fullness of the Spirit. I had read Torrey’s book on the Baptism of the Spirit, and would cry and pray as Moody and Torrey told of such visitations of God that found them experiencing God’s power for witnessing and service. If I was going to serve the Lord, this was what I wanted, whatever the price I had to pay to receive it.
In fact, I attended a meeting conducted by a well-known radio evangelist who had advertised ‘Baptism of the Spirit’ night. I went to his Minneapolis rally and heard him spend half an hour in selling his books. And when it came time for preaching he said it was too late for that, declaring we were “preached to death already.” He suggested for all who wanted the baptism, the line would form on his right. I immediately went out to the parking lot, got in my car and prayed: “Lord, if this is of you, I want it. If not of you, I don’t want anything to do with it!” Then I went back to the tent and got in line. I felt if anyone was a candidate to receive the baptism of the Spirit, that I was, for I had just spent a week in searching, seeking and reading concerning this glorious experience. As this minister touched the people, one after another would swoon away or begin speaking ecstatically. Without exception all seemed to partake of some visual experience but when he touched me nothing happened.
So, this was some time later when during the fourth night of prayer and fasting I was awakened. As I lay there it was as though the Lord began showing me how throughout my life He had been with me. He had kept me from grievous sin, kept me from marrying the wrong girl with whom I was madly in love, and led me to the lovely person who later was to be my wife. After this the Scriptures began to unfold so wonderfully and passages that my instructor in Bible School could not fully explain began to open to my understanding. It seemed like the devil, too, appeared for he said: “Write this down and publish it, put your name to it and become famous.”
I did get up from my bed and wrote down those precious truths as the Holy Spirit revealed them to me. But as tears stained my cheeks, I prayed, “Lord, You’re the Author of the Word, and the Interpreter of the Word to my heart. Seal these truths to the work of the Holy Spirit.”
Returning to my bed, I again fell asleep only to be suddenly awakened by a visitation so glorious I seldom like to refer to it. It is so sacred I hesitate to relate the event, but believing it will glorify the Lord I will proceed to tell what happened.
Distinctly and clearly I heard a voice like a whisper say: “Receive ye the Holy Ghost’ My doctrinal belief had been that you received the Holy Spirit at conversion so I argued back that I had always had the Holy Ghost. But the Lord did not argue. He simply ministered in the most wonderful way. There followed a deep breath that permeated my whole being so that I felt like a new person. I sought for another breath but it was only natural breathing. Then clearly, by the same still voice, I heard the words, “I’ve healed you from the top of your head to the soles of your feet.”
What rejoicing filled my heart as I mused on this divine visitation. Praise began forming and the words of an old hymn came to mind– “When I saw the cleansing fountain open wide for all my sin, I obeyed the Spirit’s wooing when He said, wilt thou be clean? I will praise Him, I will praise Him, praise the Lamb for sinner’s slain. Give Him glory, all ye people, for His blood has washed away each stain.” Hallelujah.
Not wanting to be deceived, I questioned my experience. I certainly didn’t want to be fooled by the devil.
I discovered that the healing was real. The rheumstold-arthritis condition left me, along with the ulcers and infection.
Most tremendous, however, was the anointing of God’s Spirit upon my life and ministry as the Lord began to show me the work that He had called me to do.
I never place a great deal of emphasis on dreams and visions, even though the Word of God clearly speaks of such revelations in elation to the promised outpouring of the Spirit in the Last Days.
Every other morning for four separate days I would awaken as the Lord clearly showed me that I was to return to radio broadcasting. I clearly saw myself in a radio studio reading the script into a microphone. On another occasion I saw a platform that seemed projected high in the air as if atop the rock of Gibraltar. Looking out into space I could see a sea of faces. Then I proceeded to go to the rostrum to give my testimony as to how the Lord had so wonderfully healed me. Instead, I opened my Bible and announced my text, THIS IS THAT. I must confess I wasn’t sure where it said that in the Bible until I looked and saw it related to the Endtime outpouring of the Spirit of God.
O, how my heart cries out that all would hunger for this outpouring of God’s Spirit promised to all flesh, including our sons and daughters. My cry is for many who are looking to worldly pleasures for satisfaction, seeking happiness through achieving fame and fortune. Churches am split, families are separated, hearts are broken…simply because of this lack of the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of doctrinal interpretations, we must confess something is wrong in evangelical circles where thee is bickering and quarreling and division.
Letters are coming to my desk saying I am off doctrinally to preach this message. But I turn to Jude who declares that in the last time there should come mockers who would walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, HAVING NOT THE SPIRIT.
May God help. us. May we see that lustful exhibitions, as well as the separation of Christians, is evidence of a lack of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit unites us, gives us love one for the other, causes us to pray one for the other.
Every morning following this experience I would awaken as by an alarm clock at four o’clock in the morning. Scriptures would unfold in such a marvelous way, particularly as they related to the Second Coming of our Lord. Messages would come as though by dictation and I could hardly write these messages down fast enough. Whereas, before this experience, I would study and cram for a sermon to the point of physical exhaustion, here were sometimes two and three messages at a time coming as though the Spirit was by my side giving me the very words to speak. If interrupted, it often was impossible to get again the line of thought so I would sometimes lock myself in my room when preparing a message so my thoughts would not be disturbed.
Moody diagnosed Christians as falling into three separate groups. “The first class,” he noted, “are those who got to Calvary and there got life. They believed on the Son and were saved, and there they rested satisfied. They did not seek anything higher.” Moody went on to say, “You might safely say, I think, without exaggeration, that 19 out of 20 Christians…have just got life and have settled down, and have not sought for power.”
Moody then goes on to describe what he calls a “better class of Christian,” asserting, “The secret of the Holy Spirit coming in power to the believer is the individual’s complete surrender to the Saviour. And,” notes Moody, “We do not have to wait upon God to do something for us. He is waiting for us to yield yourselves to Him.”
Finally, in John, chapter 7, we read of those out of whose “innermost being (belly) shall flow rivers of living water.” Observes Moody: “This is the best class; this is the kind of Christian we ought to be.”
Moody calls attention to the fact that for thirty-years our Lord lived in obscurity in Nazareth, Then there came a day when we read where Jesus was “full of the Holy Ghost.” Coming back to Nazareth after his victorious encounter over Satan in the wilderness we read where he entered the temple and read from Isaiah…”the Spirit of the Lord is upon me.” From thence, “for thee years we find him preaching the kingdom of God, casting out devils, and raising the dead…”
Concludes Moody: “If the Son of God has got to be anointed, do not his disciples need it, and shall we not seek it, and shall we barely rest with conversion?”
When thee were those who took exception to Moody’s reference to receiving the Holy Spirit, or his messages on the baptism of the Spirit, Torrey relates how Moody would reply: “Why will they split hairs? Why don’t they see that this is just the one thing that they themselves need.”
We agree. Rather than quibble over terminologies that make little difference when it comes to interpreting the work of the Holy Spirit, let us recognize that God is still filling the hearts of those who desire this fullness of the Holy Spirit.
As Moody declared, “Pentecost was only a specimen day.” What God did at Pentecost He is still doing today in filling the hearts of those who desire the fullness of His Spirit. And while we may not all understand the workings of the Holy Spirit, and may not agree on terminologies to express the Spirits ministry, let it be once for all agreed upon that if we “hunger and thirst we shall be filled.” For, “If we ask for bread will our earthly father give us a stone?” asked Jesus. “How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him.”
I am convinced that Satan doesn’t want us to ask the Holy Spirit to come and fill us. Nor does He want us to see that as long as sin dominates our lives the Holy Spirit cannot control us. And he would have us to believe that all receive the fullness of the Spirit in the same way, with the same evidence, but without the results of power for witness and service that should accompany all who are baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Preceding Pentecost the disciples were told: “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” (Acts 1:8) Power to witness is one of the results of the Spirit’s fullness in our lives. P> Our Lord spoke of our relationship with the Holy Spirit as likened unto ‘rivers of living water’! You can’t dam up a river. It must spill over somewhere. So the evidence of the Holy Spirit’s ministry will exemplify itself in witnessing and fruitbearing.
It is when we surrender wholly to the will of God that the Holy Spirit, who is with the believer, comes to indwell the believer in his fullness. This is what it means to be filled or controlled by the Spirit.
Beloved, we believe these are the last days. God is wanting to pour out of His Spirit! He wants to save souls and transform lives! He wants to prove Himself real to every believer! He wants to do the miraculous. He wants to heal the sick. And one of these days, praise God, He will raise the dead when believers come forth from their graves.
May we not be like the Pharisees and reject Scriptural truth. May we not become like Esau and carelessly toss away our birthright to privileges and blessings rightfully ours. Don’t join the crowd that says “God is dead” or that says “God doesn’t work miracles today!” Rather, believe God. Like Jacob wrestle, saying, “1’11 not let you go until you bless me!” God honors faith with persistence expressed by prayer and fasting.
Get in on the blessing. The flood tide of God’s Spirit is ours for the asking, and in obedience to His Word. For we read, “The Holy Ghost is given unto them that obey Him.” (Acts 5:32)
Finally, remember that Christ may be your Saviour. But not until the Holy Spirit takes control of your life is Jesus really the Master of your life. For “no man can say that Jesus is Lord save by the Holy Ghost.” (1 Cor. 12:3)
And while we believe we can experience this infilling and know it, let us remember that no experience replaces a daily walk with the Lord. We need a fresh revelation from God daily, and need to commune with Him constantly. Then victory can be ours! For we read, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” (Gal. 5:16)
Christ’s coming hastens. Like wise virgins, let us awaken, rise and trim our lamps, and prepare for the coming Bridegroom by taking oil in our vessels with our lamps. With Christ dwelling within us, and the Spirit of God controlling us, we can be ready for our Lord’s soon coming.
Indeed, “Be ye ready also for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man cometh!”